HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, April 30, 2021 – “Study long, study wrong” is the cliché handicappers and horseplayers are counseled and for the most part, it rings true. And TMI—too much information—indeed can be a bankroll killer. But as Gumby might say, “it’s the Kentucky Derby dammit!”
If you are a horse racing fan, and you must be if you’re reading this, you already know as much as you need to know about this cast of Derby-147 characters, which takes us back to the first platitude a gambler hears: “Have a hunch, bet a bunch.”
We’ve studied long and hard and at one time had six different horses in the top slot and the deadline arrived. And so we had a hunch about who might win after the final round of 100-point preps and we’re going to go on record with Known Agenda as the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner.
Known Agenda broke maiden at 2 in his second lifetime start going a mile and an eighth, defeating future odds-on Florida Derby favorite Greatest Honour, winning the race with a career best effort. He enters the Derby with the most distance experience and his pedigree gets one extra furlong.
The Curlin colt disappointed as the G2 Sam F Davis favorite but had mucous in his lungs and could catch his breath until midstretch where he leveled off strongly too late.
For his next start trainer Todd Pletcher added blinkers and he dominated by 11 lengths, setting him up perfectly for his Grade 1 debut. The Derby pace rates to be contested and he will run inside of horses if given a clean trip.
The new 20-horse starting gate mitigates his rail draw somewhat and with today’s late scratch of King Fury, the gate can be placed a little farther out from the rail. He still could get jammed up, but that’s Irad’s job, not mine.
There are six graded stakes preceding America’s Race. Following are the betting grids for all, listed sequentially:
G2 Distaff Turf Mile Race 6
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Zofelle (2-1)
WIN VALUE: Blowout (7-2)
EXOTICA: New York Girl (8-1), Got Stormy (8-5)
G1 Derby City Distaff
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Gamine (1-5)
WIN VALUE: Bell’s the One (6-1)
EXOTICA: Estilo Talentoso (15-1)
G2 Pat Day Mile
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Jackie’s Warrior (3-1)
WIN VALUE: Prevalence (6-1)
EXOTICA: Dream Shake (7-2), Starrininmydreams (5-1), Noble Reflection (15-1), Three Two Zone (30-1)
G2 American Turf
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Annex (7-2)
WIN VALUE: Du Jour (5-1)
EXOTICA: Scarlett Sky (4-1), Palazzi (10-1), Royal Prince (12-1), Chess’s Dream (12-1)
G1 Churchill Downs Sprint
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Whitmore (7-2)
WIN VALUE: Mind Control (6-1)
EXOTICA: Tap It To Win (8-1), Lexitonian (20-1)
G1 Old Forester Turf Classic
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Colonel Liam (3-1)
WIN VALUE: Digital Age (8-1)
EXOTICA: Domestic Spending (9-2), Ivar (5-1), Masteroffoxhounds (15-1)
GRADE 1 KENTUCKY DERBY
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Known Agenda (6-1)
WIN VALUE: Hot Rod Charlie (8-1)
EXOTICA: Highly Motivated (10-1), Essential Quality (2-1), Midnight Bourbon (20-1), O Besos (20-1), Soup and Sandwich (30-1)